QT length during methadone maintenance treatment: gene × dose interaction

El Hadi Zerdazi*, Florence Vorspan, Andries T. Marees, François Naccache, Jean Pierre Lepine, Jean Louis Laplanche, Nathalie Prince, Cynthia Marie-Claire, Frank Bellivier, Stéphane Mouly, Vanessa Bloch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Methadone is known to be a risk factor for sudden death by enlarging ECG QT corrected (QTc) interval. For other medical conditions, QTc lengthening has been described as the result of interactions between pharmacological treatments and genetic factors. Former heroin-dependent subjects under methadone maintenance treatment in remission for at last 3 months were recruited. We studied the association between QTc length (Bazett formula) and 126 SNPs located on five genes (KCNE1, KCNQ1, KCNH2, NOS1AP and SCN5A) previously associated with drug-induced QT prolongation. Both SNP-based and gene-based approaches were used, and we tested also the interaction of the top SNP with methadone dosage to predict the QTc length. In our sample of 154 patients, current methadone daily dose was associated with QTc length (r Pearson  = 0.26; P = 10 −3 ). Only one SNP, rs11911509 on KCNE1, remained significantly associated with QT length after correction for multiple testing (P = 3.84 × 10 −4 ; p corrected  = 0.049). Using a gene-based approach, KCNE1 was also significantly associated with QTc length (p empirical  = 0.02). We found a significant interaction between methadone dosage and rs11911509 minor allele count (allele A vs. C; P = 0.01). Stratified analysis revealed that the correlation between QTc length and methadone dosage was restricted only to AA carriers of this top SNP. Patients’ genetic background should be taken into account in the case of clinically relevant QT enlargement during methadone maintenance treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-106
Number of pages11
JournalFundamental and Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • KCNE1
  • methadone
  • QT prolongation
  • rs11911509


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